Work at Home or in the Office?

There are obvious benefits to the employee of working from home.

However the negatives to the company are too significant to ignore.

In every turnaround of a distressed company I have fixed, the absence of face-to-face cross-functional communication was glaringly absent.

Cross-functional communication is defined as employees from every function meeting as a group on a regular basis to discuss anything affecting the company’s performance including: priorities, problems, issues, creating new opportunities, etc. These functions or departments include: sales, marketing, accounting, manufacturing, engineering and human resources.

Effective cross-functional communication starts at the top with the Chief Executive Officer. A successful CEO must meet regularly with direct reports, as well as with lower organizational levels. The organizational tiers below the CEO level must meet regularly. The meetings should include a mix of officers, managers and individual contributors. Depending on the issues and their severity, by meeting regularly I suggest weekly.Cross-functional communication must be done face-to-face. In person communication simply provides the most honest, candid, productive exchange.

Whether problem solving or evaluation of a new opportunity some people will not express their opinions openly in a meeting. There are many factors for this hesitation to share thoughts, including basic modesty, shyness, uncomfortable speaking publicly, pecking order politics, etc.  Successful managers must be able to read a team, recognize the body language and facial expressions of a person reluctant or shy to express themselves and have the skill to draw the person out – get them to open up.

This is very hard to do at a distance via conference calls and other contemporary technology. It simply cannot be done relying on Zoom calls.

A further complication of employees not working in the company’s offices is the elimination of informal communication. Employees frequently stop to chat informally in a hallway or someone’s office to further discuss an issue important to the company. Occasionally in these informal meetings a solution is formed.

The staff of any company working exclusively from home will negatively affect creativity, problem resolution and company performance.


Goldman Sachs lifts all COVID protocols, orders staff to return to office full-time

Is the work-from-home debate already over?

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Chief Executive Officer

Executive Chairman

Turnarounds & Operational Restructurings

Adviser to creditors, board of directors or owners

Pre-acquisition & troubled company due diligence evaluations

Develop strategic and operating plans - including Court required plans of reorganization

Acquisition advice and negotiations

Serve as Member Board of Directors

Testify in Federal and State Court

Reason I wrote my book “Learn to Whisper”

Click on this link for a more complete description of “Learn to Whisper”

The reason I wrote “Learn to Whisper”:

My conclusion after operating as a Turnaround Chief Executive Officer for more than twenty-five years is that the majority of this country’s top management is far from first-rate. In fact top management, particularly at the chief executive officer level, is at best average with a large number that can be rated mediocre. This lack of management competence has seen this country’s market leaders lose sizeable market share to foreign manufacturers able to export better quality and lower cost products to the USA. It has seen manufacturing and service operations unnecessarily moved to foreign countries. All of which has negatively affected the economy, severely damaged former blue-chip corporations and seen quality jobs lost.

It is quite common to discover that companies struggling with this inability to compete with foreign companies have been simply mismanaged. The once successful business deteriorated because of an incompetent chief executive officer and weak senior management

Why doesn’t this nation have first-rate management? Inadequate training. Chief executive officers and vice presidents learn “on the job”. A number get promoted based on personality, political connections and drive – not merit. They are not carefully screened for the potential to become successful at managing. For some all that is needed is a well-written resume, the right interviewing style and the inability of a new employer to accurately assess skills, performance and potential.

Compare this to the process doctors go through. From medical school to internship to residency to a senior role after years of education, experience and continuous training their progress and capabilities are constantly monitored even after they become senior in the profession. Generals and Admirals go through a similar protocol. They must prove themselves in low-level assignments before they are judged qualified for senior positions. Unqualified applicants in both professions are culled out. What can be done to improve management competence? Education, on-the-job training and job performance monitoring. My book will educate people on the subject of managing. Its 101 management lessons are separated into the 17 subjects managers need to know.